Operation Anaconda Case Study

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Operation Anaconda: Struggles in Unified Command Operation Anaconda was technically a success, but there were so many issues with force structure and de-centralized planning that the operation never achieved full unity of effort and therefore regarded as a failure in unified command and cautionary tale in current joint operations. Unity of command is a fundamental principle of war defined in JP 1: Doctrine for the Armed Forces of the United States (2013) as “a command with a broad continuing mission under a single commander and composed of significant assigned components of two or more Military Departments that is established and so designated by the President, through the Secretary of Defense with the advice and assistance of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff” (p. GL-12). Unity of command and unified command terms can be interchangeable as verbs, but note that unified command can also be used as a noun. Exploring this principle of war and the failing characteristics of Operation Anaconda is…show more content…
The failure in unified command here is the unwillingness of the SOF advisors nested with the forces to share information. This unwillingness was justified at the time as an Operational Security (OPSEC) concern. The advisors had full right to be wary, but in the end it caused confusion and fratricide. To paraphrase an excerpt from Operation Anaconda Case Study: “TF Hammer’s vehicles were stuck in the assault and came under heavy and accurate mortar fire. The US SOF elements requested air support, but the support lost situational awareness and killed a US soldier and several Afghans” (Fleri, Howard, Hukill, Searle, 2003, p.16). The confusion was not just limited to the Afghan forces, but other government organizations as

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